Friday, April 30, 2010
Today one can read umpteen similar viewpoints supporting happiness via individualism, freedom to choose one's own destiny towards happiness, opportunity to shape one's own life's ambition and dreams, independence to choose one's own love (life partner), liberation from conservative tradition and promotion of the self.
Elizabeth Gilbert describes this phenomenon beautifully when she writes, "I was raised to believe that I was special. My 'me-ness' was always prized, and was recognised as being different from my sister's 'her-ness', my friends' 'them-ness' and everyone else's 'everyone-else-ness'."
I see nothing wrong with this attitude but fear that it may instigate rebellous-ness. Rebellion in itself too may not be bad but when laced with ignorance can create chaos.
Elizabeth Gilbert had to travel the world at the age of 37 to research and discover 'Marriage' - the stubbornly enduring old institution. That too, after being married earlier for 6 years. Fortunately, she had the money, motivation, intelligence and resources to take the effort. But was it worth it? It is interesting to note that she hardly mentions the role of her family, her upbringing in teaching her notions about marriage.
My contention is that decisions and directions in life is best taken with maximum possible understanding about life. It is the relative wisdom that would ensure relative contentment. My belief is that individual wisdom can never be richer than collective wisdom. My belief is that the family support system is the most self-less of all source of collective wisdom.
The culture of individualism conflicts with this benefit of collective wisdom because an individual has to suspend logic and obvious reasoning to take advantage of collective aged wisdom. There are many aspects of life's wisdom that cannot be understood at a particular point in time. Individual wisdom comes with age, experience, education, circumstances. So it may be prudent to believe in collective wisdom without really understanding the same.
If we take wisdom in terms of the understanding the institution of marriage and the effect of individualism in America, it was as early as 1800s when social conservatives suggested that 'this trend toward expressive individualism in marriage would spell out the very breakdown of society'. What they specifically predicted was that 'allowing couples to make life matches based purely on love and individual whims would promptly lead to astronomical divorce rates and a host of bitterly broken homes'. Dont you think they were kind of correct?
To reiterate, it may not be always possible to understand 'why is it what it is' for whatever our elders advise us, society administers, neighbours gossip etc. We need to open our intuition and instincts to accept views and opinions irrespective of whatever it is termed - 'traditions', 'superstitions', 'customs', 'gossip', jokes etc.
We should not let the collective wisdom of our extended family support system get diluted with fervent individualism. We cannot afford to re-invent our worldly understanding every lifetime. Of course, we can choose to disagree, but with extreme caution.
The western concept of individual choice may sound cool. But beware, its lonely and devoid of worldly time-tested logic. We have to let collective wisdom survive the onslaught of western individualistic culture.
Everyone of us cant be Elizabeth Gilbert.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Dental hygiene becomes a thought and a concern when we find difficulty chewing with one of our teeth. Unfortunate but true that we visit our dentist when a tooth pains. Even in Metros, where dental knowledge and expense are relatively higher, dental hygiene is most neglected.
It’s when we are returning from the dentist with our first root canal done then we are thinking of taking care of the remaining teeth. Even then, how many of us know how to take care of our remaining teeth?
For many, the obvious may be to start brushing after dinner before going to bed. For some, surprising it may sound, it is brushing regularly from now. It is worse if it is a promise to brush properly from now.
Dental hygiene is a serious concern that we are seriously not concerned today. We have to understand that tooth decay is irreversible and realise that the sorrow of not having a critical tooth like a molar or a canine is lifelong. Tooth decay not only spreads to other teeth, but also produces a foul smell.
Did you know that a root canal is actually a process to cut off the supply of nutrients and blood to the tooth, making it a dead brittle tooth, which can chip off any time? Scary, isn’t it?
Dental hygiene is easy, cheap and has long term benefits. It comprises brushing, flossing, cleansing and a six monthly visit to your dentist.
Our daily dental hygiene plan should involve brushing our teeth twice in a day - morning and before going to bed, flossing our teeth and rinsing our mouth with a mouthwash once in a day. Brushing is for overall cleaning, flossing is to remove deeply lodged food particles and cleansing is to reduce the bacterial count and activity.
If we double this daily regime with a six monthly visit to the dentist for specialised tooth cleaning and check up, we are surely assured of a healthy pair of teeth for a lifetime.
It is always re-assuring to have one familiar dentist, as he would know your teeth structure, history and your lifestyle better. So go and make friends with a dentist today. I have made mine.
Wish I had the good sense to follow these instructions when I was a kid. It is important that we teach and enforce dental hygiene to our kids. The best way to enforce is to do it ourselves. Kids learn from their parents, as they take them as examples. If the parents brushes twice daily and enforces the kids to do the same, it is very likely that the kids will pick up the habit too.
I am going to meet my friend tomorrow to look at him and silently resolve to start a more stricter dental hygiene regime. I dont want to extract any of my tooth till I am fifty. Period.
Monday, April 12, 2010
- The non-medico society knows very less about medical science. This leaves very little argument against a wrong prognosis. I remember one of our neighbours not allowing his child to drink water, as he was having loose motion thinking that water will only make it worse.
- The doctors are kept in God-like social standing. They are the opinion makers. So, naturally doctors are not questioned and are followed with blind faith. That is the reason perhaps, of the existence of Hippocratic Oath.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Today I am about to be 34 in about a few days. I think I have had a successful stint at leading life to a respectable position. I have grown from earning 1500 a month to earning in lakhs. I have learnt to keep myself productively busy. Very busy.
But a strange thought is currently depriving me of all my pride and contentment.
We are only taught and doctrinated to chase security. We are not taught to chase our dreams.
Security, I feel is a transient term, a state of mind that changes with context, time and money.
I have been chasing security. I have been chasing money. I have been chasing the easiest and the most secure way to make money. Not knowing how much is enough money. Not knowing how much money will give you enough security.
I surely had a passion and an inkling of my interests. I am happy that I didnt go completely haywire. I studied advertising at MICA. Designed communication for McDonald's
Then I think the inevitable had to happen. I aimed for convenience, comfort, stability and security. I jumped jobs and skills that were of interest and convenience to me and that which could fetch me more money. Soon, I had EMIs to pay, a house to run, a car to drive, a bike to ride. I had a lifestyle to maintain. Pubs to go and luxuries to experience.
Maya-Nagari Mumbai, all the while assisted me in my quest for security. I didnt realise and understand the maya.
I took the stand still-traffic to be a necessary evil to be waded through. I took to working 10-12 hours as if I had no option. I considered the brown sky without any stars to be the natural sky. I took the honks, construction sounds, and all the artificial sounds to be natural. Sometimes I think I will become deaf. I took to staying away from my parents as something that everyone in a metro does. It seemed normal.
Thinking of what's next become a priority. Ambition, Performance, Ego, More Money, peer pressure became a way of life... Anxiety is accepted. They say there are pills that are abused to control anxiety. So much for security.
I forgot to look back, to introspect. Today, I feel a bit shaky. Security still alludes me. Security has become a never ending chase.
Time to think. Time to realise my dreams. Its never too late.